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Manuscript Book in the West


Admission requirements

In principle aimed at MA students of Book & Digital Media Studies. Some exceptions may be made: contact the instructor.


This seminar course offers an introduction to the history and development of the Western manuscript book. It explores various aspects of the production and use of the medieval manuscript in Europe, from scribal habits to the practices of readers. The course focuses on both the physical features of medieval books as well as the contexts in which they were produced and used. The course consists of two parts. The first half is devoted to the cultural contexts in which medieval books were produced and used. Building on this contextual understanding, the second half of the course offers students the chance to work with actual medieval manuscripts. The aim is to discover with your own hands and eyes how medieval books were produced and used.

Course objectives

  1. To introduce students to the medieval manuscript and its culture of production and use.
  2. To develop a critical understanding of how knowledge of medieval books may be employed in other medieval disciplines, such as the study of history and literature.
  3. To show what role the handwritten book plays in the broader history of human communication.


The timetable is available on the Media Studies website

Mode of instruction


Course Load

The course load is 140 hours

  • Hours spent on attending seminars: 26 hours

  • Time for studying compulsory literature: 39 hours

  • Time for writing papers: 75 hours

Assessment method

  • Essay 1: 50%

  • Essay 2: 30%

  • Class participation: 20%


Blackboard will be used (general information, supplying additional readings)

Reading list

Clemens, R. and Graham, T. (2007), Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Cornell University Press)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. You can register until two weeks after classes have started however students are advised to register as soon as possible and preferably before the start of the course. In the case of electives: please be aware that most electives have a maximum amount of students who can enroll. Do not approach the course instructor in case the class is full. You will automatically be put on a waiting list.

In case you have difficulties with registering for courses you may ask the student administration at Van Eyckhof for assistance. Their e-mail address is [](mailto: and their phone number is + 31 (0)71 5272144.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions concerning the course content or blackboard module contact the instructor of the course.
For other questions contact the student administration.


All other information.